Posted in April 2013

Other Cultures

April 30th, 2013

Country/Day:           India/84

Bikes Fixed:                  106

Bikes/Day Avg:                 1.26

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The bottom-right four are for all the settings on your future hot tub.

I could (and later, may) make this a more elaborate post, but for now, I’m torn between keeping up with things in India and preempting my 10-day return to the States (which preempts my 90-day trip to Guatemala).

In the mean time this is intended to be a short, semi-satirical post about, well, two of the interesting cultural things I’m experiencing at the moment:

(1) Light switches.

(2) Language.

So similar, I know.

(1) I really don’t have to explain this one, I think, beyond posting the photo above. For all my Indian friends who think that is normal… well, I have one light switch for my room at home. Some rooms have two light switches (like the kitchen). I think the biggest switch bank we have is just inside the front door, which has one switch for the porch light, one switch for the entry light, and one switch for the second floor staircase (which has always confused me). How do you not need to label them?

(2) I’ve written a lot of posts about speaking Hindi and the language barrier in general. I’ve also touched on the idea that my brain is wired to speak Latin languages, and not, well… Indian ones.

This became more evident to me when I started thinking about my impending trip to Guatemala, for which I will have to practice my Spanish. Immediately after thinking that, someone asked me something in Hindi, and I replied in Spanish. It was automatic — Oh, this isn’t English. It must be _____!

(correct answer: One of the hundreds of other languages out there)

(my (incorrect) answer: Another Latin language)

Funny how our brains work.

Anyways, there’s a significant update coming up about the Guatemalan portion of the trip, but part of it goes like this:

I wrote a letter to someone in Guatemala. It began with,

Hola Carlos,

(dígame si debo escribir en español)

[message in English]

Which reads,

Hello Carlos,

(let me know if I should write in Spanish)

[etc]

To be clear, I don’t consider myself a Spanish speaker. Spanish is my fourth language, after Facial Expressions, English, and then French (making Hindi my fifth). I knew I was likely to visit a Spanish-speaking country soon after graduation (between this and taking tango lessons in Argentina… well, one of them had to happen), so I took a year of Spanish in college. My background in French does help (often the words and sentence structures are very similar, so if you don’t know a word in Spanish, you can just say the French word but with a Spanish accent)… but that just means I’m good at faking Spanish.

Another addendum: I have never been forced to speak a language I’m unfamiliar with. I’ve never been out of the country except to India, and most of the people I need to communicate with here speak English or are really good at miming.

So when I got this reply from Carlos,

Gracias por tu apoyo bueno solo quiero decirte si puedes escribirme en español todo y luego te respondere gracias,

(which says, in essence, “Please write in Spanish”) I realized, well… it’s go time. Too bad I left my English-Spanish dictionary at home.
That moment you realize you have to do something you’ve never done before, and you’ve got no other choice: It happens a lot to me. You know what my response is?
Let’s do this.
(hey, maybe I should make t-shirts. Actually, no, first I’ll come up with something more catchy. Then I’ll make t-shirts. And on the back they can say, “You like this. It’s catchy.” *ahem*)

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Science

April 27th, 2013

Country/Day:           India/80

Bikes Fixed:                  104

Bikes/Day Avg:        1.3 exactly

Somewhere in the past 80 days I apparently miscounted, because I’m supposed to leave on day 89, but counted today to day 82… so I changed it to day 80. That’s right — not only am I fixing bikes, I’m traveling through the time-space continuum.

Nine days to go, and I’m well over my goal. I’ve also built about 110 wheels and held seminars for more than 130 mechanics. I’ll put up official numbers for those items on my India wrap-up post.

Anyways, at least two cool things have happened lately, and I wanted to post about them.

– – –

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If you’ve been keeping up you know my 90th bike wasn’t the type of bike I usually work on — it was a racing bike (to compensate for this I fixed 91 bikes… and I’m now at 104… *ahem*). It wasn’t just any racing back, however. It was the kind of racing bike that has sealed bearings.

For those of you who don’t know, there are a lot of bearings in bicycles. Bearings allow things to rotate in one dimension while maintaining their position in all the other dimensions. In your car, for instance, the wheels are on bearings (the back wheels are on one set; consequentially, they only rotate “forwards.” The front wheel are on two sets, they rotate “forwards” and “side-to-side” to allow steering), and the steering wheel is on bearings. In bicycles, the headset, bottom bracket, hubs, and pedals are all on bearings.

Explaining this to 130 Hindi-speaking mechanics was a lot easier when I had a whiteboard.

Essentially, bearings are a collection of smooth balls that rotate against two surfaces. In loose ball bearings, one surface is called a cup, and the other is called a cone (shown above). The track the balls race along on either surface is called a race. In sealed ball bearings, there are sometimes not cups or cones, just inner and outer races (shown below).

(searches for “exploded ball bearings” on Google are not happy searches right now)

So there are two kinds of bearings: Unsealed (first photo) and sealed (second photo). Unsealed bearings are easy to overhaul because they are not “sealed” together. Usually you just open her up, degrease, regrease, and put her back together. You can also adjust the tightness very easily to remove play (wiggle in other dimensions). Sealed ball bearings, on the other hand, need to be replaced once they have worn down. They can’t be taken apart without being ruined. Furthermore, to remove them you “need” a bearing remover; to re-install, you “need” a bearing press.

                      img

My, don’t those look expensive.

I put “need” in quotes because, you know, I’m me. Manas (the friend whose bicycle it was) had sealed bearings, and needed them replaced. But we didn’t “need” a bearing press.

For the sake of my career as a bicycle mechanic, I don’t want to say exactly how we got the bearings out. Suffice it to say it involved a hammer (and I can say that because bearing removal tools require a hammer) and we didn’t damage the rest of the wheel.

I don’t know what happened to his seals but they appeared to have disintegrated, and the balls inside were well pitted.

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Anyways. The cool part. SCIENCE.

Since we didn’t have a bearing press we tried to think of other things we could use. The only other thing we had on hand to press things together was… well, his quick release.

This looks less expensive. In fact, two are included free with every bicycle!

 Quick releases are used to keep wheels in the bike (or not in the bike, as it were). Indeed, they apply quite a bit of compressive force. Nobody can seem to agree on how much — I’ve heard estimates of anywhere from 90 lbs to 900 lbs — but basically, it’s a lot.

So, here’s to science.

IMG_8453

Whaaaaaaaat

Okay, we didn’t have the right size washer, but we made it work anyways.

Amidst all this, Manas’s wife came home and asked what we were doing. I told her “science.” She said, “Yea right! It looks like two mechanical engineers geeking out over doing something the wrong way.”

Okay, that probably wasn’t exactly what she said, but that was the gist of it. And I mean… she was right!

– – –

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As a bike mechanic you’re expected to know a lot about bikes (I mean… hopefully). Unfortunately, not all bikes are the same, and not all problems are the same. Especially once bikes are ridden, they can be as varied in imperfections as the people who ride them. They have a history of their own, and without knowing it intimately, it’s not always possible to know what’s wrong. There are some common solutions (your chain skips when you pedal really hard? Likely the cassette needs to be replaced). More often than not, however, when we’re asked for a solution, the reply is, “I need to see it.”

So by the time you get the bike and ride it yourself, the customer (or friend, or friend of a friend who is secretly Sales Manager for Ferrari India) sort of expects a knowledgeable answer. By this point an experienced mechanic can get it right 95% of the time… but there’s still that extra 5% where you make an educated guess and hope you guessed right.

Similarly, sometimes you can just look at a bike and know something is wrong. With experience, you’re right most of the time (lately I find myself walking up to my manager — who is arguing with a customer over what’s really wrong with their bike — and just telling him the headset it loose). But again, every bike is different, and every customer is different.

So that moment when the customer gets on the bike again, starts riding, and gets a smile on their face — that moment you know your 95% is more like 96% — you feel pretty good about yourself.

A few days ago, that happened twice. And to make the story telling easier, it even happened with an English speaking customer.

It first happened when I saw the bike. The handlebars were just plain at the wrong angle. In typical Peter S. fashion (Peter was my mentor at Tacoma Bike last summer) I waltzed up and said, “Gee, I bet his wrists hurt when he rides this thing!”

I can hear Peter saying it now. Anyways, I was talking to the dad of the kid who owned the bike, who said, “You know, he’s never mentioned that,” then asked his son if his wrists hurt when he rode.

“Yes. Yes they do.”

BOOM. Validated.

[The only “Did I mention that you’re awesome?”

photo I could find involved a My Little Pony.]

Next it happened when he was arguing with the owner (NOT the manager) over a clicking sound coming from the bottom bracket (a side note about the owner: He doesn’t know anything about bicycles but is really good at pretending he does. We don’t really get along). The owner seemed to think it was the chain. Chains do not make clicking sounds unless they have a stiff link, which present other problems. I swanked up to the owner and said, “It’s not the chain. It’s the bottom bracket.”

Then I fixed it.

Then I got thanked.

96%.

One thought on “Science

  1. Marilyn says:

    Love the science! Thanks for not posting My Little Pony.

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Things You Like About Indians

April 23rd, 2013

Country/Day:        India/78

Bikes Fixed:                  93

Bikes/Day Avg:               1.19

Following a request, I’ve decided to write a post about Indians. I’ve written a lot about India, but during my time hear, I have also noticed some common themes among the people that reside here.

(side note: Every time I talk about Native Americans, I start to say “Indians,” but then stop and correct myself. For those of you unfamiliar with American history, when Chris Columbus sailed over from Europe, he thought he had rounded the world and landed in India. We still colloquially call Native Americans “Indians.” It’s a compliment?)

4. You’re persistent.

Would I like some roti? – No, thanks. I’m full! You’ve done a great job feeding me.

Okay, how about some dal then? – Nope. No, that’s okay. I really can’t handle any more food.

Maybe you’d like some sabje? – Honestly… you spoil me.

Okay well, what can I pass you? – I’m good, thank you.

Oh, well, alright.

You’re sure you don’t want any dal?

Ah, India… land of hospitality. You will never go hungry here. India, your hosts offer me food until I’m tired of saying no, and have to wave my hand instead. Your beggars ask me for money for a good five minutes before trying someone else. Your drivers ask person after person if they’d like a ride, never moving from that just-barely in-the-way spot at the exit from the metro station.

You never give up, do you?

3. You’re brave.

Let’s be straight with each other. It takes guts to ask for money. I mean, I know that the paradigm is a little different here. Okay, a lot different. But let me tell you, couldn’t run around asking people for money all day.

I did try it a few times. Fundraising for Relay for Life… fundraising for 90:90, even. Once you get started, it’s not so bad. But in the US, all you have to do is ring a doorbell. Here, someone asking for money follows you around and grab your arms and say things intended to make you feel bad about yourself. All day, every day. That’s not something everyone can do.

 That’s just one example though. You’re also not afraid to put foreigners on scooters and drive them around town all day. You’re not afraid to shout out prices to passersby or to keep going lower. You’re not afraid to stare.

You’re not afraid to cross a busy highway, or drive on the wrong side of the road, or drive without lanes.You’re not afraid of the man (granted, the police don’t have as much of a presence here as they do in other places). The list goes on.

And when I reach #1, you’ll get even braver.

2. You’re straightforward.

Except for the swindlers (say, that rickshaw driver who took you on a 3km detour because there was “construction.” Or even better, the taxi driver who said that rickshaws were on strike today), I find most Indians to be pretty straightforward. If you have something to say, you say it. If you’ve got a question to ask, you ask it.

Let me be straight with you. This is AWESOME. If I moved here, this would arguably be my number one reason for doing so. There are too many people in the United States who skirt around major issues or don’t ask the right questions, or don’t want to answer the right questions. Even worse, they’d rather make up stuff to fill in the blanks for the questions they don’t ask, or to explain things they don’t want to believe.

I know there’s some politics here too, but for the most part,  you guys are straight up. You don’t spend time practicing how to dodge a question. When you argue, you use facts, not tactics. It’s the way conversation was meant to be, and believe me when I say there are too many people who can’t stay true to that.

1. You know what you want and you’re going for it.

India, there aren’t a lot of people who know what they want out of life. There are even fewer who have the guts to go for it. Or the persistence. Or the bravery (sound like #3 and #4? Thought so). I know too many people in the States who don’t know why they have the major they have, or the job they have, or who want to change something about their lives… but don’t. It’s estimated, in fact, that 80% of Americans don’t like their jobs (source: Deloitte Shift Index).

On the flip side, 80% of Indians are like, “Yup, pretty sure this is what I want to be doing with my life.” I have met some amazing people during my time here. Entrepreneurs. Mountaineering guides. Students. Teachers. Bike Mechanics. You aren’t amazing because you’re doing amazing stuff. You’re amazing because you want to be doing it. It may sound obvious to you, but there are too many people out there who don’t realize the difference between want and… uh… I’m not sure actually why you would do something you don’t want to do with your life.

Even if you started down the wrong path, someone would be straight with you (sound like #2? Uh-huh) and you’d shape up.

Hang on to that.

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Dinner: Success

April 21st, 2013

Country/Day:        India/76

Bikes Fixed:                  93

Bikes/Day Avg:               1.22

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I might try and do two blog posts today… we’ll see whether or not I can resist the urge to practice accordion all day instead. At the least, will have another one up on Tuesday (I’ve had a request).

In other news, before I begin, I did hit (and pass) the big 90! So India is dun. Time to party! Okay, not really. I’ve still got two more weeks of bike fixing glory. But it’s nice to have reached my goal.

– – –

So, down to business.

I’m a thank-you kind of guy. When someone does something nice, I say “thanks!” I mean, I am grateful, after all. This got me into trouble because Indians aren’t really “thank-you” people. It’s not that they’re not grateful, it’s just that they don’t always say it (note to my Indian friends: This isn’t a bad thing. Just stating facts). So the first few days I was here I always said “thank you for dinner,” etc. After a while my host, Prabhat, sat me down and said I didn’t need to say that anymore.

Anyways, I still wanted to do some sort of favor for these folks, so I decided to cook them dinner. This wasn’t an arbitrary decision or anything, I’m actually a pretty good chef, and I tend to think that good food is a great way to show appreciation. I figured they have Indian food every night, so I might spice things up a little (or not, the food here is already pretty spicy) and cook “American.”

In India it is common to have housekeeping. Minimum wage is $3/day, so it’s probably common because it’s affordable. Note: I’m not sure what housekeeping rates are — probably higher than $3/day. But even at two or three times that rate it’s still “affordable” compared to minimum wage in the States (about $8/hr); most housekeeping services charge at least $20/hr, I think. So in addition to myself, Prabhat, his wife Ambika, his son Nishith, and Prabhat’s parents living here, there’s also five housekeepers (three men, two of their wives) and they have four children between them. I set it upon myself to thank the housekeeping as well, meaning I was cooking for at least 15.

Nishith thought I should cook for the guard. I didn’t think I could portion anything in exact amounts over 10, so I just decided to cook “a lot.” In most cases this meant tripling the recipe.

The point is, I decided to cook dinner for 16 people.

– – –

I promised this dinner about a month ago but people were always out of town or busy (myself included), so it had been a long time in the making. This means I had a lot of time and advice to use in deciding what to make. When yesterday came around I had decided on a Greek salad, Mexican enchiladas with homemade corn tortillas, and apple pie for dessert.

“Wait! That’s not American!” you say (conceding the pie). You’re right… maybe. In my opinion, the only things that are really “American” are things like steak, hamburgers, french fries, etc. Most of our potato dishes are Irish, most of our pasta dishes are Italian, etc. Even most of our Southern dishes have heavy African influences. So when I say I wanted to cook “American,” I just mean “things that are commonly made in America” (and if you’re being proper, Mexico is in America… not the United States… but still. Linguistics, man).

So anyways, I spent Saturday morning finding recipes (to my dismay, my sister’s Cook’s Illustrated account had expired). I usually improv most of my dishes, but hadn’t cooked in a while, and didn’t want to be too adventurous on my first effort at impressing my host family. After finding recipes, I had to convert all the measurements from pounds to kilograms. Everything else (cups, tablespoons, etc) is the same here. Oh… except Fahrenheit. The ovens are in Celsius. So before putting the pies in I had to get Ambika to do some conversions for me on her phone (thanks!).

– – –

After doing the conversions I went to the grocery store. Nishith, for some reason, had enlisted himself to help me. I’m not complaining — he was instrumental in my (our?) success — but he ended up spending as much time as I did at the grocery story, and in the kitchen. So I want to shout out to him and thank him for his help!

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You’re awesome, buddy.

Anyways, the grocery store trip was surprisingly standard, and they had almost everything I needed. There was confusion in some cases. For instance, nobody knew what cilantro was, and Nishith didn’t know the Hindi word for it, so we were unable to find it (fortunately, Ambika had some in her pantry). Also, the Greek salad called for black-eyed peas, which are actually beans. The grocer took us to the dried pea section before I suggested they might be with the canned beans. And indeed, there on the can it said “Black-Eyed Beans.” Weird (but admittedly correct).

The only think I didn’t find enjoyable was some of the prices. I wanted to cook an “authentic” apple pie, which meant using Granny Smith apples. I was disappointed to find that the grocery store didn’t care too much about what kind of apples they sold — just about the color. “Red Apples” and “Green Apples” were all you could get (while I was disappointed, I wasn’t surprised; apples aren’t really a thing here).

Anyways, the green apples were imported from the US. I was really happy to see a little “USA” sticker on them. This also meant they were horrendously expensive — Rs 375/kg, or about $15/lb (compared to maybe a few dollars a pound in the States). By far they were the most expensive purchase, as I needed 7 lbs for the three pies I was making.

apple

U.S.A! U.S.A!

The cheese was also expensive, at about Rs. 550 ($10) for a standard size brick. The cheddar was good; I was skeptical about the feta, which didn’t crumble but had to be cubed. In the end it tasted okay though.

After a few questions one of the grocers just took our basket and guided us through the store. This is pretty common, I think — remember, labor is cheap! And there were about 15 grocers on duty in a fairly small size store — it was maybe only 8000 sq. ft. compared to the 30000 of a US store (these are guesstimates). Anyways, partway through I asked Nishith if it would be customary to tip him, to which Nishith concurred. He said about Rs 100 ($2) would be fine, but Ambika later corrected him to Rs. 10 ($0.20). I was told numerous times before coming to India that even Rs 50 ($1) was a monstrous tip, so I knew Nishith was kidding me (Ambika said her son was “being a true Indian, milking the clueles tourist for all he was worth.” Thanks…).

After we checked out our grocer tried to leave, but I waved him over with the intent of tipping him. He took it to mean we wanted help out, which I didn’t complain about. After getting to the car, I gave him 150 ($3). He smiled a huge smile, shook my hand, said “Thank you so much,” and stood and waited for me to tell him I was kidding. I wasn’t. I mean, for one of my only Indian grocery trips, and one of my only chances to tip a grocer (it’s uncommon to do so in the States), I was okay with being a little generous. I also figured $3 wasn’t a lot to me, and it would be a lot to him. Recall minimum wage is $3 per day.

– – –

Another thing I needed was corn flour, for the tortillas. I forgot to grab this at the grocery store, so went to a corner mart. The guy handed me a small box, about 1″x4″x6″, that said “Cornflour. Great for soups.” I was skeptical, so called Ambika and asked her what she used corn flour for. “Soups,” she said. “It makes them nice and thick.”

“So you wouldn’t, like, make bread with it?”

“No, no. I would use flour to make bread.”

“But this is flour.”

“Well right, but I wouldn’t use it to make bread.”

“Okay, so what would you use if you wanted to make cornbread?”

(pause) “I would use corn flour.”

As I was talking to Ambika on the phone I was reading the box of “Cornflour.” My eyes finally reached the ingredients, which read: “Maize starch.” Aha! I explained to Ambika I didn’t want starch, but flour, “like, milled corn.” She went,

“Oh. Well, we have that.”

And so I went home.

Man, those would have been some weird tortillas.

cornflour

“Luke… am your father.”

(nooooooooo)

– – –

All confusion aside, Nishith and I got started around 4:30. I peeled 16 apples and took frequent breaks to give him advice on tortilla making. He said it would help if he knew what a tortilla was, so I told him they were “Mexican roti.” Anyways, he had never made them before, nor had he ever made any kind of dough, so I had a lot of teaching to do. It was a great experience though, and we had a lot of fun.

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There is no dough.

Just after we got started, one of the housekeeping decided to camp out in the kitchen and do our dishes for us. I tried to explain to her it was my night to cook, but she wouldn’t have any of it (or she didn’t understand me). I asked Nishith to tell her, but she wouldn’t have any of that, either. Desperate, I went and got Ambika, who said “[Hindi hindi hindi hindi],” and the dishes stopped being cleaned. I was relieved. I mean, I like people to do my dishes as much as the next guy, but it seemed like a half-hearted “thank you” not to do the bulk of the work.

Ambika also frequently came in and observed. At first she tried to help, but I was all like “Nope, your job is to not do anything,” and then she just took pictures and asked questions. Not intimidating questions, just like, “Why do you use frozen butter to make pie crust?” and “Do American girls like it when you cook for them?” She also frequently stated how happy she was I was using her fancy equipment. For instance, she had some practically brand new hot pads which nobody ever uses for some reason, and was happy they were getting used. And she was excited to find a new use for nutmeg, among other things (nutmeg went in the pie).

Anyways, we got the dough made and separated. Then we got them all the same size using merge sort.

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Computer science: Coming to a kitchen near you.

We then had to press the dough. Nishith wasn’t tall enough to get his weight over the skillet, so he would get each dough ball set up, then call me over to press. For the rest of the night I hopped between whatever I was doing, pressing tortillas, and cooking them. Cooking only takes about 30 seconds per side, so I was doing a lot of hopping. Luckily, the multitasking side of me wasn’t rusty.

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And Nishith was like, “Yea man, this is so easy.”

For the most part things went according to plan. I won’t bore you with the logistics (though I did spend a good ten minutes figuring how to bake three pies, bake two dishes of enchiladas, make two salads, and have everything be ready at the same time… with a microwave-size oven). At some point during the night I was quadri-tasking: Pressing tortillas, cooking them, cooking the filling for the enchiladas, and filling the pies.

Dinner is typically served at 8:30 or 9 in India, and thank goodness! Around 8:15 I explained the TV show Top Chef to Nishith, which led to periodic shouts of “15 minutes left on this episode of Top Chef! He’s stirring the onions! Will they be done in time?”

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These smiles brought to you by the delirium of cooking on the clock.

Anyways, Nishith finished the tortillas and started cutting the two pounds of spinach necessary for the salad (did I mention I couldn’t have finished on time without him?). I finished prepping the enchiladas and popped them in the oven, then helped him finish the salad, and (finally!) we served dinner around 8:50.

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I’m happy to say it was well received. I wasn’t expecting them to love it, since it was something new, but everybody said it was great, and it all disappeared… so, you know, awesome. About halfway through Ambika started asking me if I had recipes for some other things… they had recently harvested a pumpkin, for instance, and did I know any pumpkin recipes? Or, when winter rolls around, what’s the best thing to do with all those sweet potatoes? They had had pancakes once when visiting the States, did I know how to make those?

At some point during the night I thanked Ambika for letting me use her kitchen, because I know that mothers can be possessive over their kitchens. She just said, “Actually, I’m already planning what you’ll cook next time.” So I was pretty happy with myself.

In addition, the housekeeping was all smiles, and one of them told Ambika he was enjoying taking it easy.

Anyways, after dinner we put on some Frank Sinatra and did the dishes. Ambika and I had some iced Bailey’s to celebrate (she was celebrating someone else doing the cooking and the dishes). Then around 11:30, we crashed.

death

Good day. And thanks again, Nishith.

3 thoughts on “Dinner: Success

  1. Marilyn says:

    Congratulations on a wonderful dinner to you and Nishith! What a wonderful thing to do for your hosts and their housekeepers. Something they will remember for a long time. Let me know if you need me to send pumpkin, sweet potato, or pancake recipes. Great blog!

  2. Grandma says:

    Good job on the meal! And it made my hungry! It made me think – I was going to buy some towels last week and couldn’t find anything made in USA – so I didn’t buy any! and you found apples grown in the USA! And great to hear you passed your “90” goal!!

    • Kyle says:

      Hi Grandma — thanks for the comment!

      Yea, it’s pretty funny what’s imported where and what’s not. If you’re interesting in buying from the US you might try etsy.com. You have to deal with it being online, but some of the stuff is pretty cool.

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Quick Update: Dinner Time

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

I promised lots of blogging this weekend, and I plan on keeping that promise… tomorrow (procrastinators unite! …tomorrow). No, but really. Today, I am cooking dinner for my host family. Because I mean, what a better way to say thank you? I won’t disclose too many of the details here in case they are reading — it’s supposed to be at least partly a surprise — but I can say some things about the experience so far.

For starters, I’m cooking “American.” I put “American” in quotes because as an American I know we don’t really have our own cuisine — we borrow from other countries. America is a melting pot of people from, well, everywhere, and as such so is our cuisine. Okay, we did pioneer most fried things, but I’m not about to blow my thank-you dinner cooking hamburgers and french fries (not to mention many Indians are vegetarian).

I’ve spent the better part of the morning researching what’s available in India and comparing it to things I want to cook. This isn’t like, “Darn, I’m out of whole wheat flour, guess I’ll just use white.” This is like, “Darn, nobody knows what cranberries are, guess I can’t make a salad.”

I finally picked recipes I think I can make (though I am taking some risks with the spices… and in particular, the apples, I think). My host’s parents are strict vegetarians and in Hindu, that means no eggs, as well. I also can’t use garlic or alcohol (I wasn’t planning on getting them drunk, but a white wine reduction never hurt anyone, did it?).

Then, I converted all the measurements from pounds into kilograms.

And now, fingers crossed, I’ll leave for the grocery store and come home with at least 50% of the things on this list… and not have to change my whole dinner plan on the fly (though I’ve become experienced at that. Thanks, college!).

Oh also, since I want to thank my host and the housekeeping, and by that point share with the housekeeping’s kids, I’m tripling all my recipes. And doing all the dishes.

*ahem*

Wish me luck!

Blogathon tomorrow.

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90

IMG_8458

That’s a wrap, folks.

 

Expect much more blogging this weekend.

(and yes, I will continue to fix bikes for the 3 weeks I have left)

 

One thought on “90

  1. Marilyn says:

    You’re at the big 90. Congrats!

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More Budget Changes

April 11th, 2013

Country/Day:        India/66

Bikes Fixed:                  81

Bikes/Day Avg:               1.23

Ah, administrative duties… they never stop, do they?

There have been some budget changes again, so as promised, time to be transparent:

– Plane tickets to Zambia have gone up to about $1700 round-trip. This might be a reflection of my location (eg, perhaps it is more expensive to buy tickets to Zambia from an Indian IP address), so I will update again during my 10-day break in MN before heading to Guatemala.

– Zambikes has refined the room and board estimate to $700/mo to cover increased living expenses and inflation.

The new budget is now $8600, which will be reflected in the thermometer at left and the budget sheet on the budget page as soon as they update (this can take up to a week and depends on the server).

With or without the changes, I’ve still a bit to go, and I’d love to make it there! Donate please!

Here’s a picture of a bicycle I fixed recently in order to motivate you:

IMG_7892

HE donated ice cream. Hey, it was all he could afford.

2 thoughts on “More Budget Changes

  1. Grandma says:

    I was at a meeting in Rochester on Sat. and heard a speaker who had been to India in 2011, a program called Global Exchange. I’m not quite sure what it was but it was interesting to hear stories of India similar to yours. She flew into New Delhi, which i believe you did, and visited Kokata which i believe is Calcutta and another city that I don’t remember the name of. She mentioned a project that she had been involved in which was “Bikes for the Congo” and when I asked her about it, she said it was to buy bikes rather than repair, a need in many parts of the world.

    • Kyle says:

      Well, getting bikes is the first step, and they can last a few years without needing too much repair. Sounds like a two-fold solution – Bikes for the Congo is first, and I’m second!

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Small Stories

April 1oth, 2013

Country/Day:        India/65

Bikes Fixed:                  81

Bikes/Day Avg:               1.25

I originally had a few “big” ideas for this post, but the more I thought about them, the more they kept getting smaller… and smaller… and smaller.

So instead of one BIG post I’ll just do a few small ones all together. That seemed to work last time

– – –

1. Tea is Sacred.

There are a couple things you can’t help but notice during a stay in India. In one of my first posts after arriving I mentioned the traffic laws… or lack thereof. India is noisy, as people don’t really have a sense of personal noise level. Cows are everywhere. Oh, and everybody drinks tea.

I can’t blame them. The tea here is really good. It’s a magic recipe that starts with tea leaves from Darjeeling, arguably the tea capitol of the world. When Darjeeling tea was first “discovered” in the 1800s, the fastest ships available were used to ship it to Europe so it was as fresh as possible when it arrived. I could go on, but the point isn’t really how delicious the tea is… it’s how sacred it seems to be (although, more in a figurative sense).

The first thing I was asked when I started work at Fauji cycles was if I took my tea with sugar or not. Regardless of what I answered I’ve had tea with sugar (as that’s the only way it comes) twice a day every work day since then. And when the tea comes, the work stops.

It’s like a magic way of taking a break. There’s no, “just let me finish this.” There’s no, “but this is urgent.” We’ve turned customers away because they were in a hurry and we were having tea. If you’re holding a cup of tea in your hands, you’re immune to being asked to do something.

Tea is sacred.

IMG_8377– – –

2. Is that English?

Another thing that quickly becomes apparent is that the English spoken here is different than the English spoken in the States. I’d like to say it’s the same way the English spoken in Britain is different than other kinds of English, but… I’ve never been to Britain. I’m not saying one or the other is right or wrong. I’m just saying that when somebody is trying to sell me something, and they use a different sentence structure than I learned was proper, it’s a little disconcerting.

– Consider this paragraph on the front page of a product magazine for S.K. Bikes:

S.K. Bikes, an ISO certified Company is a name to reckon in bicycle industry. In short span of 10 years, the company has received nation’s highest attention by providing best quality product at lowest possible cost up to the entire satisfaction of customers.

As the company is young, the runners are young too, so we have super energy, advance thoughts and unconquerable confidence. S.K. Bike is a fastest growing bicycle company having a wide range of 100+ variants.

– The furniture store across the street does “Sofa Repair & New Sofa.”

– A local cement company advertises its product to be “Durable & Strongest.”

Again, I’m abroad, so I don’t think it’s my place to say that since it’s different than what I’m used to, it’s right or wrong. I’m just noticing that, well… it’s different.

IMG_8414– – –

3. Truck.

One of my coworkers is named Calu. Calu likes to… erm… I’m not sure what it is exactly. But today I was working, and Calu said,

“Kyle bhaya?”

“Yes?”

“Truck.”

He wasn’t pointing at anything (like a truck), so I thought maybe it was an Indian word I didn’t know yet.

“Samjhe nahim” (I don’t understand).

“School bus?”

“Samjhe.” (I understand/know what that is).

“Truck.”

Apparently he just wanted me to know he had learned the work “truck.” Sometimes he does this with other words or things I know already. For instance, we refer to the crossing pattern of wheels by saying “6 pattern” or “8 pattern” (a 3-cross wheel, for instance, will have its crossing spokes 6 apart at the hub. A 4-cross wheel, 8 apart).

I’ll be halfway done with a 3-cross wheel and he’ll say,

“Kyle bhaya?”

“Yes Calu?”

“Six pattern.”

“I mean… I hope so.”

– – –

4. Bargaining is Free.

I’ve dropped hints here and there that many things are cheap in India, and that it’s okay to bargain. For instance, during my trip with Firefox I wrote about bargaining a taxi ride from Rs. 500 to Rs. 100. If you’re resolute this isn’t too hard, as it’s part of the culture. But sometimes you don’t even have to indicate you want something to get the price to come down.

We were walking on the beach in Goa when someone came up to me and said (or more, saw me and shouted; he was about 50 feet away),

“Sir! Sir, please. Would you like this necklace” (he was holding out a simple necklace made of strung shells)?

“No, thanks.”

“Sir! But sir. Do you know how much? I’ll give you special price!”

I gave him the hand wave and by now was walking away from him. At this point most people see you’re actually not interested and go somewhere else. This guy really wanted to sell his necklace.

“Sir! Please, sir. For you sir, I am thinking only… 100 dollars. A very special price.”

So the funny thing is, “dollars” here can either mean actual USD, or INR (Indian Rupees). I figured there was no way he wanted $100 for the necklace, so he had to be asking Rs 100. That’s about $2 — not bad. But Viju is more experienced with these things, and afterwards Viju said yea, this guy actually wanted 100 dollars. So… *cough.*

“Sir! Wait, sir! 80 dollars! Only 80 dollars! No? Okay sir, 70 dollars? 50! What good price! 50 dollars!”

By now we were about 80 feet away. I turned to Viju and said, just for giggles,

“50 dollars for a necklace! What do you think? Good price or not?”

— remember at this point I’m thinking Rs. 50 ($1), and Viju and the necklace guy are thinking $50. Anyways, the necklace guy responded,

“Okay sir! Okay. You are winning. Let’s say 20 dollars. 20 dollars, final price!”

And that was the last of it.

I have bargained very little in my life, but without doing anything that day, I learned the power of walking away. From $100 to $20 in about fifteen seconds.

Bargaining is free.

– – –

5. Intimate Pigeons

In light of the whole “no sense of personal volume level” thing I haven’t been getting much sleep. Sitting in my room at 8:30 PM IST I can hear, verbatim, the TV (my door is closed). There’s a chorus of dogs barking about who knows what a few blocks down. Every few seconds I can hear a car honking on the main road, about 300 feet away, and every few minutes, a car drives by the house and honks. Once an hour from 10:30 to 5:30, the guard will blow his whistle to deter any would-be thieves. One night the neighbors decided to have a party and there was loud music until about 1 AM (they must have been a few houses down, and I could hear the music almost verbatim) — there is practically no such thing as domestic disturbance in India.

You get it. India is loud, all the time. But there’s one thing I wasn’t expecting. Just as I was finally getting used to most of it (the dogs and the whistle still wake me up if they are particularly loud or close by), two pigeons decided to build a next on the AC unit connected to my room.

I think what makes most sounds bearable is that they are constant. As human beings, we notice change. We are used to, and hardly notice, things that have been a certain way for a long time. It’s the same reason you can fall asleep with a fan on, but not if the fan short-circuits every few seconds, turning on, and off, and on, and off…. And as you might imagine, pigeons are not very predictable.

Every morning around 5:30 AM (I usually don’t get up until 7:30 or 8), the pigeons are doing something. Building a nest. Cuddling. Cooing. Prospecting. Whatever it is that pigeons do (and one morning they were doing what every procreating specie does. No, I don’t ever want to wake up to that again).

The situation has yet to be solved. We’ve tried removing their nest, but they just built a new one (Since their adult relations knocked that one off, they haven’t had one at all. Yet they still act as though they live there — maybe the A/C unit is just where they do morning yoga now, or maybe they are waiting till the eggs come). So until we figure something out (I’m pressing for a chicken wire fence), I’m getting to know some very intimate pigeons.

– – –

One thought on “Small Stories

  1. Marilyn says:

    Great post! I really enjoy reading your wonderful writing about the Indian culture.

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Communicating in Hindi

April 7th, 2013

Country/Day:        India/62

Bikes Fixed:                  78

Bikes/Day Avg:               1.26

This is a post I’ve wanted to do for a while, and there have actually been a few requests for it. The requests have been along the lines of “Top Ten Hindi Phrases,” or “How to Survive in India.” This post is going to be very much an aggregate of those two; in essence, “How to Communicate with People in India so You Don’t Die.” Cool, right?

When I first arrived I was a little disappointed in myself for prepending that learning Hindi wasn’t necessary. I still feel that had I studied a bit harder before my arrival, I’d be having a better time. Volunteering at the shop, actually, is going swimmingly. Any command I haven’t learned the language for can be emulated by hand signals. The problem is that I can’t really get to know people. The shop manager and I can talk about where we’re from, what’s next in our careers, what our favorite food is, etc. But we can’t answer those questions that make us more transparent, like “What would you do with 2 billion dollars?” or “Why do you follow Hinduism?” or “What’s your favorite thing about your wife?” (for me it’s “Why aren’t you married yet?” — 23 and unmarried is appalling to everyone here).

Now, disclaimer. I’ve been trying on and off to learn Hindi. I think I mentioned it’s not a Latin language, and that certainly isn’t helping things. As well, without the regularity of a classroom structure (I never thought I’d say this) it’s hard to get things to stick. So on the one hand, it would definitely be beneficial to learn Hindi. On the other hand, not knowing Hindi makes this post very easy to write.  Through a natural selection of sorts, the words I use the most are the ones I remember… so to write a post about the most useful Hindi words, I just write the ones I remember.

NOTE:

The majority of the people who might find this post “useful” (instead of just interesting or entertaining) probably won’t be fluent Hindi speakers. Some Hindi sounds, like “bh-,” are difficult for Hindi-as-a-Second-Language folks to hear, and much more difficult to explain over the internet. So in many cases I have simplified.

For temporary travel in India, the pronunciations below should suffice. But know that it is not necessarily proper or complete.

– – –

(1) The hand wave. Wave your hand only from the wrist, keeping still everything from your wrist up (sort of like you’re doing a Jedi Mind Trick on someone). For bonus points, use only your pointer and middle fingers.

I wish I could say number one on the list was something about being accepting or keeping an open mind. But if you accepted everything someone gave you, you would get very fat. And if you gave everyone something they asked for, you would be very poor.

In India people want to feed you. It’s part of the culture. Most people who can afford food have a few extra pounds because they are well fed. If you stand in someone’s house longer than five minutes, they will offer you food (unless they knew you were coming, in which case, it’s waiting for you at the door). As soon as you clear your plate, regardless if it’s the first or the fifth, you are offered refills. Usually they go through every item on the table.

“More?”

“No, thanks.”

“Roti?”

“No, thanks.”

“Sabje?”

“No, thanks.”

“Dal?”

“No, thanks.”

“Dahi?”

“No, thanks.”

(after a minute)

“Colfie?”

Etc.

I never thought I would say this but it gets tiring saying “no” so much (then again, I’ve never had to say it so much). If you don’t believe me, then please, come to India and experience it for yourself… but have the hand wave ready.

In Minneapolis I see a few beggars a year. If I don’t have any change I can just ignore them and walk on by. In India, I see at least a few a day. They come up to you and wait for you to give them money. Until you give them an indication that you have or don’t have some they stick around. It’s not uncommon for them to grab your clothes or your arm, and yes, it’s as bothersome as it sounds.

Solution? The hand wave. They usually stick around for ten seconds or so just to be sure they read you right, but it’s better than having them follow you around for ten minutes.

On top of beggars there are the sellers. Any time you leave a transport hub (train station, airport) there are taxi drivers waiting just outside. “Taxi sir?” you will hear, three or for times before you make it to safety. Use the hand wave. Walking through an open market, you often have people coming up to you saying, “Do you know how much? Sir, I give you good price. Sir, please.” They don’t stop until you leave… or do the hand wave. Oh, and don’t think because you’re not at a transport hub or market people won’t try and sell you things. I was on the beach in Goa when someone came up to me and tried to sell me a shell necklace for $100 (by the time I walked away he had brought it down to $20, but in India, that’s still ridiculous).

The hand wave doesn’t always work. But I promise you’ll get tired of saying “no,” and having people follow you around until you reply. Use the hand wave.

– – –

(2) “Bus” – yes, pronounced like the vehicle your kids go to school in.

“Bus” is a Hindi expression for “enough,” the English equivalent of “when” (as in, “say when”). Remember how people offer you food until you explode? Well, sometimes rather than just passing you the food, they will serve it to you, too. Namely, if you order a dish in a restaurant to share, it’s not uncommon for the waiter to serve each of you before setting the dish down (this may be appalling to some of you health nuts, as yes, it is seriously unhygienic. But honestly, you have worse things to worry about here). You can say “bus” to keep him from overloading your plate.

If someone is pouring you a drink, you can say “bus” to get them to stop.

As an added bonus, this word seems to be one of those “in-the-know” words in the Hindi language, so people will be impressed with you (and often surprised) if you use it. Actually, one time a waiter became so distracted by the fact I knew the word that he continued filling my glass until it overflowed.

– – –

(3) “Pani ki bottle” – pronounced “pan-ee key bottle.”

This Hindi phrase means “bottled water” (“pani” is the word for “water”). Prabhat warns me there’s room for interpretation and you might just get a used bottle filled with water. If you’re worried about that, “mineral water” might also be understood. However, I haven’t had any problems (you can check the seal on the bottle to be sure).

Oh, in case you missed it, the tap water here is no good. So, pani ki bottle, please (or “pani ubalna” — boiled water — if you’re staying with a host). Side note — MRP is usually around RS 15/liter ($0.30), but restaurants may charge as much as Rs 50.

– – –

(4) “Kitne” – pronounced “kit-nay.”

This is the Hindi word for “How many?/How much?” You need to be able to use this word as well as understand it. For instance, at a restaurant you might order chai.If you’re sitting with someone else, the waiter will then ask, “Kitne?” Most anyone selling something knows English numbers up to ten. If you really want to learn the Hindi numbers you can, but worst case you just hold up your fingers.

If you’re looking at buying something and want to now how much it is, you can hold it up to the shop owner and say, “Kitne?”

– – –

(5) “Baya” – pronounced “buy-ah.”

This is the Hindi word (polite) for “sir.” It actually means “big brother,” but it is used to refer to any male you are trying to get the attention of. As the culture dictates, the vast majority of your waiters and other customer-service personnel will be male, and you will probably want to get their attention at some point, so it’s essential you know how!

If you do happen across a waitress at some point, you can use “didi,” which means “big sister.” It is a bit uncommon though, so while she’ll understand you, she might look at you funny.

– – –

(6) The OK sign and the words “Okay, no problem.” Made by touching the ends of your thumb and pointer finger, and raising the remaining three fingers out of the way. The words are pronounced as in English; most people understand them.

When I first came to India I would use thumbs-up a lot. Very few people understand it, however. The OK sign is much more widespread. In addition, most people understand the phrase “No problem.”

– – –

(7) “Ek minute.”

“Ek” is Hindi for “one.” I found it really ironic that this phrase is half Hindi, half English. I tried saying it all Hindi or all English, but every time I was corrected to “ek minute.” Anyways, nobody wants to learn how to pronounce the Hindi word for “minute.” So if you’re in the middle of something and somebody wants your attention, just say “ek minute.”

– – –

(8) Talk to your host!

I cannot stress enough how much you learn to communicate simply by talking to people who speak decent English. I knew some Hindi words when I came, but I have used almost exclusively those above, which I learned from the people here.

For instance, I had “left” and “right” memorized in case I had to take a taxi somewhere; but all taxi drivers know those words. On the other hand, I didn’t know I’d be using “bus” so much, which had to be explained to me.

I was talking to Ambika about buying a flash drive to get my photos home (recall my computer crashed and I am on a borrowed one for the time being). “A what?” she said.

“You know, a flash drive. Like, a memory stick. You put it in your computer and it stores data.”

“Oh! You mean a pen drive.”

So when I went to buy a “flash drive” and the Hindi-speaking store employee looked at me confusedly, I knew to ask instead for a pen drive. Problem solved. I would never have learned that by sitting around the States memorizing Hindi words.

– – –

(9) Samjhe Nahin – pronounced “Sam-jay na-heen”

Hindi for “I don’t understand.” If you don’t understand it’s usually pretty obvious, which is why this is at the bottom of the post. But every now and then you get the persistent people who demand a response (okay, pretty often, actually — it’s pretty cultural to be insistent here). In this case, it works even better if you say it with a bad accent.

NOTE:

The majority of the people who might find this post “useful” (instead of just interesting or entertaining) probably won’t be fluent Hindi speakers. Some Hindi sounds, like “bh-,” are difficult for Hindi-as-a-Second-Language folks to hear, and much more difficult to explain over the internet. So in many cases I have simplified

For temporary travel in India, these pronunciations should suffice. But know that they are not necessarily proper or complete.

5 thoughts on “Communicating in Hindi

  1. Marilyn says:

    This is a fascinating post, with lots of insight into the Indian culture. You are becoming a great writer.

  2. Grandma says:

    Interesting – I can just see you ‘talking” Hindi!!
    I have interesting climbing grandsons – they all like to climb mountains. You on Mt. Kanchenjunka, Ethan recently climbed Mt. Kenya and Caleb in the past year Pikes and Longs Peaks in Co and Sharp Top in VA.
    I rode up Pikes Peak once, does that count??

  3. Kailash Singh says:

    Sabaje Nahim – pronounced “Sub-aaj-ay Na-heen.

    Correct: Samjhe Nahin – pronounced “Sam-Jhe Na-heen

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Oh Yea!

April 4th, 2013

Country/Day:        India/59

Bikes Fixed:                  75

Bikes/Day Avg:               1.27

I plan on giving each post a unique title, so some of them have to be questionable, right? It’s the pigeonhole principle. Or maybe I just need better pigeonholes. Okay, enough geeking out.

Today I went, “Oh yea, I have to blog and such!” …hence… “Oh yea.”

Anyways… I have a few ideas for neat posts but first I have to finish up that trip with Firefox. So let’s see… we were in Bangalore, on Monday, March 11th, and I had just gone to bed after giving a presentation.

Then I got up. And got on a plane to Goa. And gave another presentation.

Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Some of the planning was done last minute (and by Viju (my travel buddy, if you remember), who usually has his wife plan things, so… let’s just say it’s not his best skill (sorry buddy, I still love you though)), so we had a 6 AM flight. Fortunately it was only 45 minutes, and the cab from the airport was nice. Goa was very… scenic.

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Like, whoa.

Okay, the above wasn’t taken during the cab drive, but that’s sure what it felt like. There were palm trees and other greeneries everywhere; compared to the rest of India, it felt like a rainforest. Instead of, you know, urbanville.

So we had a bit to relax in the hotel, but not long enough to sleep, really. At some point we made it down to a sports shop owned by the same guy hosting the seminar. We were then scootered (yes, scootered… I have a photo of this somewhere, I promise) to a hotel where the seminar was.

Yup. A hotel. Not a bike shop. A hotel.

IMG_3140

A restaurant in a hotel, actually.

But hey, we made it work. Actually, it worked pretty well, compared to some of our other seminars. Small class size. In-house food.

Unofficially, I was a little pressured to finish early, because… you know… Goa.

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I can understand why one of Viju’s friends commented upon our arrival, “Goa and work… not buying it!”

But we did work. We totally worked. Here’s proof that we worked.

IMG_3157

Every smile you see is a witness to the work that we did.

So the next day,

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I held on to that for as long as I could.

Oh, and as long as I’m digging myself a little deeper…

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…we spent the first evening in a bamboo shack with our feet up, drinking pineapple juice (out of pineapple-shaped glasses, no less) and having American Breakfast (I remember that specifically because it was the name of my order. I hadn’t had cheesy scrambled eggs… or sausage… in. SO. LONG. I was really glad they did breakfast for dinner).

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It felt like a movie. Seriously. When I imagine the ideal beach scenario. That was it.

Okay, enough incomplete sentences.

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We rented a scooter to get to the beach, and flipped a coin for the helmet. Sorry Mom.

*ahem* Okay, NOW I’m done. After Goa was Pune. There wasn’t anything terribly special about Pune, except that the hotel had lobby computers, so I could update my blog. Oh, and we went to see Oz: The Great and Powerful, which was pretty good. The plot was as slow as molasses for a while (I say this ironically, having recently read some of the history of molasses), and everybody knows the wicked witch was born green (I still need to see that, by the way), but still pretty good… I may need to see it again, actually.

Here’s something else that happened in Pune (Poon-ay, by the way):

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This is how you…

Just for giggles we asked the mechanics how they would fit a customer to a bike, and above you can see one of the answers we got for seat height. Yes, “if you touch the pedal with your fingertips, the seat should come just up to your armpit.”

I’ll let you ponder that for a while.

After Pune we drove to Mumbai, which is a fairly common drive, apparently; some people make it daily for work (by “drove” I mean we got a cab — remember, labor is cheap!).

I thought the way they regulated speeding was really interesting, and really smart.

So everywhere in India, there are toll booths. When you leave or enter a city, you stop and pay the toll. But apparently there’s lots of speeding between Pune and Mumbai, because they’ve integrated an anti-speeding campaign in with the toll booths. When you leave one city (say, Pune), you get a ticket with the time you left on it. When you enter Mumbai, you present your ticket, and pay the toll. Since your ticket is time-stamped and the distance is known, they can calculate how fast you went. So if you speed, you just pay a bigger toll.

Of course, welcome to India: Somebody figured they’d put a convenience stop right before the toll booth… so people speed to the convenience stop, buy and drink a coffee, then go through the toll booth. But hey… it was a good start.

– – –

So in Mumbia we had a day to kill. We…

rode the trains (it’s a thing).

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Only usually they are quite full.

Saw the Gateway to India. Or the India Gate. Or one of the gates. There are so many (I’m pretty sure this one is the Gateway).

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Bought bicycle art.

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Rs. 103. “What?” “100 for 3.” “Oh. Okay!”

And sat on the edge of the harbor along with thousands of other people.

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Bombay is happening (Bombay = Mumbai).

Oh, and

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I’ll just let this one speak for itself.

Okay, so then

IMG_3623

Can you tell it’s getting late and I’d rather be sleeping than typing?

Nothing personal.

and finally

back to Delhi.

Mechanics trained: 95.

And I’m about to do two more sessions here in Delhi. So the India part of this project can be 90 Bikes, 90+ Mechanics, 90 Days.

Awesome.

– – –

Expect another post or two this weekend.

2 thoughts on “Oh Yea!

  1. Marilyn says:

    Gua looks fabulous! I am confused about the bikes that look painted white. Can you explain?

    I love it “90 bike, 90+ mechanics, 90 days.” Very much a part of your Indian trip.

    Do you have any more trips planned or is it fix as many bikes as you can until you leave?

    Love you.

    • Kyle says:

      Goa WAS fabulous! And the restaurant had Indian pricing too, something you don’t always see in touristy places.

      The white bikes were a shop stall set up in a mall. The shop wasn’t open yet, but they would hang t-shirts from the spokes and put CDs in the racks and such.

      I might go to Bangalore for the last week of April, not sure yet.

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